The Foundation for a ‘City of Intellect’

William Pereira (center), architect of the Irvine Master Plan, with UCI Chancellor Daniel Aldrich Jr. (left) and Irvine Company President Charles Thomas in 1964.

Long before Irvine became a city, we master-planned it to be a center of learning, surrounding a brand-new university.

The inspiration came from William Pereira, a celebrated architect who had previously designed the 1933 World’s Fair. In 1957, the University of California hired Pereira to scout cities for a new campus, which he would design. Pereira searched for a place that would embody all the qualities of great universities he had studied in France, Italy and ancient Greece, with a contemplative setting and enough land to grow. He found what he was looking for on our Irvine Ranch property – and the UC regents agreed.

Realizing the potential, we donated 1,000 acres for the new university, and asked Pereira to help draw up blueprints for a city to surround the new campus. The result was a collection of villages centered around schools which, among other benefits, would encourage and facilitate parents’ involvement with their children’s education.

Irvine’s Master Plan anticipated the opportunities this new “city of intellect” would offer future residents who, as the plan noted, could “avail themselves, conveniently, of the opportunity to learn.” Today, Irvine is home to UC Irvine, one of America’s top 10 public universities, as well as 15 other colleges. It also has the nation’s highest share of college-educated residents for a city of its size.

Our $45M gift continues to fund music, art and science programs for IUSD students.

Irvine Unified School District, one of California’s top 10 school districts, was recently named the best school district in Orange County by Niche, an online data-analysis company. For many residents, that means savings of tens of thousands of dollars per child on private schools.

For employers, it means access to an exceptionally well-educated workforce, drawing the world’s top companies to Irvine. We are proud to collaborate with city and school-district leaders to maintain Irvine as a center of learning.

In 2006, we made a commitment to contribute $45 million over 20 years to the city’s school district. Our Excellence in Education Enrichment Fund supports art, music and science education for students in the fourth through sixth grades.